When Democrat Matt Heinz announced a run for Congress in Arizona, I remember gay blogs cooing about how cute he is. We all do this. And he is! I've also read plenty of gay blogs and their commenters saying how hot border hawk (and possible abuser of his office) Sheriff Babeu is, regardless of his—to me, to many—objectionable belief system. (The one where he is fine endorsing candidates who are vehemently anti-gay and is himself inordinately anti-immigrant all the while having a Mexican lover for years.)
Now that it's come out that Heinz and his boyfriend hosted Babeu overnight around the same time that Heinz was one of only two Democrats who voted to approve a $5 million grant (later slashed to $1.7 million) to Babeu's office, I'm reading blogs and commenters who are upset that Heinz is under scrutiny at all. I think it's a fair question to ask.
The first gripe seems to be that assuming the "sleepover" necessarily included a three-way is anti-gay because it presumes that all gay men can do is think about sex, and that if gay men stay over with each other, sex has to have happened. If that is what happened here, the people upset at the intimination are the ones guilty of generalizing—they're saying if it happened here, that means it's fair for people to assume those things of all gay people. It's not.
But we're not talking about generalizations, we're looking at a specific situation, and I don't think it's at all untoward for a reasonable, even pro-gay, person to look at Heinz and look at Babeu and wonder if sex was involved on an overnight stay.
Creative private service shouldn't mean either man is unfit for public service, but two issues make it relevant:
(1) Is there (sexually-charged or not) favoritism here? Why would this progressive Democrat be one of only two to sign off on money for rabidly right-wing Babeu, who he just happens to know well enough to host him at home?
(2) And just on a personal level—which is a major, unavoidable motivating factor for political decisions, a la "who would I rather have a beer with?"—it absolutely is of interest to consider where you think a politician is coming from when he is espousing views in public but is privately very tight, possibly even sexually involved with a politician who is espousing views that are in most instances polar opposites? (They agree that marriage equality should exist, but Babeu thinks it should be left up to the states. You know, like civil rights and interracial marriage and abortion and...)
I think The Village Voice was bold but right to pose the question right out in the open on Heinz's Facebook page. His personal conduct has come into question and he should be asked to address this issue. He certainly should not ignore it.
Once he says what he has to say, his supporters and his potential supporters can decide for themselves if it passes the smell test and if this undeliable appearance of impropiety is just that or is an indicator that he might be ethically challenged. (Not to mention willing to sleep with someone so gross on the inside as long as they're hot on the outside.)
Hey, I'm certain I've slept with conservatives in my life, but I'm certain that I would not—particuarly if I were a public official—sleep with someone whose public life were dedicated to right-wing causes, especially someone who was at the time in the closet and singing the praises of Mitt Romney. So if Heinz did have a friendship and sexual relationship with Babeu, it would bug me as a supporter. It might not be a deal-breaker, but it would be food for thought.
And there's nothin' wrong with that. A public official needs to be ready to answer prying questions, especially as they pertain to his judgment in thinking that sheriff deserved that grant.
When it comes down to it, from what I'd read before, I find Heinz to be a smart and dedicated person whose beliefs are probably aligned with my own. I have an open mind and I hope he will address this Babeu issue head on and move on, and I look forward to being able to support him fully.